Recycling, Reducing, Re-purposing

By Candace Cady

I have slowly become more and more obsessed with…R’s! R’s you ask? Yes, Recycling, Reducing, Re-purposing and Refusing.

It started with potato peels and carrot peels and a little book about composting. Then the county delivered the blue bin. In went the cardboard boxes from the warehouse food stores. In went the plastic bags from all the other stores. In went the newspapers. In went the…well, you get the picture.

Although we were feeling very smug about recyclingour blue bin runneth over! Time to recruit some Recycling Reducing Re-purposingdifferent R’s. Some upholstery remnants, some webbing, some time behind a sewing machine, and we had some very sturdy shopping bags! Paper? Plastic? No, ours!

And then there’s glass. We have always recycled glass, hauling the recycling can down to the collection center once a month or so. But what about reusing it? I started using wine bottles for storing lentils and beans. I even bought a bottle cutter and actually got pretty good at making a clean cut, but this was going too far…even for me. Now we just bring the bottles to work and put them in Momentum Recycling’s green bins.

So now after refusing the cardboard at the big box stores, growing veggies on my own freshly turned compost, opting for my own carpet bag grocery bags—what do I do with all the needles my Ponderosa pine sheds every time the wind blows? Anybody into pine needle weaving?

See? The R’s can be a lot of fun! What can you do today to reduce, reuse and recycle?

I have a M.S. degree in Geology from the U of U and have been working for DEQ since September 1999. I have administered the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program in the Division of Water Quality since 2003. I come from a project-obsessed family, and if I could design my own personal heaven, it would be a massive woodworking shop with every tool imaginable.

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